Aljazeera's correspondent in the southern Iraqi province of Maisan reported that "several" British soldiers were killed in an artillery attack on a military base late on Saturday night.

A number of military vehicles were also destroyed in the attack.

Airman killed

Also during the day, a US airman was killed and two wounded in a mortar attack on a US airbase at the Balad airbase, 70km north of Baghdad.

"A mortar attack occurred at approximately 12.20 am today at Balad Air Base, killing one airman and injuring two others," the US Central Command said in a statement.

"One airman is in serious condition at the Army Combat Support Hospital, and the other was treated and released," the statement added.

The latest death brought to 456 the number of US troops killed in combat since the start of the war in Iraq.

With resistance at an all-time high, US troops in particular have suffered heavy losses during the past one week in Iraq.